This “New Era” is tapping into an old format to maximize its roster and really make wrestling popular again for better or worse.. The first is Smackdown is going live on Tuesday nights on the USA Network starting July 19, 2016. If that’s not enough news to get your body tingling there will be the return of the WWE Draft July 11, 2016. History tends to repeat itself and in this case we've seen this all before. So, naturally there are some major concerns amongst fans including myself that Smakcdown will stay the second rate show for “second rate”stars. However there is still hope, one took place in 2002. The brand split worked extremely well from July 2002 to early 2003 when Paul Heyman was the lead writer for Smackdown. This was possible largely because Heyman and his writing team (which may have included Stephanie McMahon) had a good feel for what fans wanted, but also the talent he had to work with on Smackdown. In order for things to work there are a couple of things that need to happen and here are the male superstars that Smackdown absolutely must draft in order to be successful.
John Cena (39)
Cena sucks, he cant wrestle blah blah blah. The number one pick should be John Cena and the five moves a doom is exactly what Smackdown needs. Cena is still the face that runs the place and we love to hate him. He has no equal when it comes to controversy and his impact is unquestionable. Of course I’ll want the vintage (w/o the rapping) heel Cena as the big bad on Smackdown rivaling AJ Syles Dean Ambrose etc, but I won’t hold my breath. Still, Cena is box office, big time, a living legend, a phenomenon. Having Cena on Smackdown does wonders, and with Reigns and Rollins being the staples on Raw this would give Smackdown a big time boost in prestige and legitimacy. It makes dollars in every way since Cena is a pulverizing figure.
AJ Styles (39)
Styles is arguably the most over face in WWE not named Shane McMahon. He’s fallen victim to back-to-back losses, which could lend itself to his story of resiliency. Putting him on Smackdown as one of the Heavyweight Title contenders (and eventual champion) would surely get people to tune in. He’s an aging star that still shines bright, he’d be the perfect driving force to send Smackdown into the new era. Like Shawn Michaels in the latter part of is career AJ is capable of putting on big time matches on a regular basis. AJ is primed and ready to lead the New Era as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Finn Balor (34)
If Smackdown is going to thrive Finn Balor is an absolute must. He’s a unique talent to say the least. Balor’s unique dark quiet demeanor with his cynical glare makes him a compelling superstar even when he’s painted like Spawn and Venom among others. He’s a true character in every aspect of the word and it shows in his fast paced high flying excellent in ring work. Balor has a huge following and that should bold well for Smackdown. Now what has to be done first and foremost is his involvement with The Club. Inserting him as the lead man and have them brutally attack AJ Styles have him use them in a way Styles wouldn’t and BAM you have your resident heel of the New Era.
Dean Ambrose (30)
Sadly Ambrose is dipping into being lost in the shuffle by WWE creative. With a new start on a new show Ambrose could thrive in a way we wanted him too. As a heel Ambrose’s natural cynical tone and odd behavior would come off as less cartoonish. As a face Ambrose can continue down this bad boy leather jacket wearing hardcore @$$ kicker that he’s been so far. Ambrose isn’t just a gimmick that he’s been written to be he’s much more. He's just 30 entering his wrestling prime with many years left in him. Ambrose at the moment shouldn’t defined, but merely cheered on as he makes his way to the top of the food chain becoming a WHC as the future of the franchise.
Bray Wyatt (29)
Bray is the youngest name on the list with huge huge potential being wasted away. Yes, remove him from the rest of the flock and make him the solo face of evil on Smackdown, kinda. I say give his character more depth by having Sister Abigail (my preference Paige or Saraya Knight #justsayin) finally make her appearance as his driving force. Wyatt has the mic skills that are too captivating to ignore. He’s still fairly young and he could improve in the ring, but he’s a brawler with great power and with the right guy in the right feud he’d put on some great matches. Face or heel as a drawing force on Smackdown he’s be great in a legit feud with debt as he fights and win the mid-card title before moving on to the heavyweight title leading the future of the New Era.
The Swiss Superman needs to be on Smackdown. Since returning from his injury Cesaro has been a red-hot face. Currently he’s feuding with the Miz and others over the Intercontinental Championship. I see no reason why he shouldn't continue to ride this hot streak into the New Era on Smackdown. Cesaro is an IWC favorite and for good reason. Though he still needs a little work on the mic he's and excellent worker and his charisma is reminiscent of Edge. Cesaro is a vet whose paid his dues and deserves to be thrown into the fight for World Heavyweight Championship.
Dolph Ziggler (35)
Speaking of paying dues and otherworldly charisma, The Showoff has been wasting away with an uninteresting and under used feud with Baron Corbin. The former World Heavyweight Champion has consistently delivered in the ring. Ziggler can without a doubt carry the WHC, but he’d also be great in a really good mid card feud especially as a heel. His pretty boy Shawn Michaels-esque persona and charisma is exactly what is needed to help give some diversity and round out this collection of stars.
The Miz (35)
The Movie Star has been proving that hard work pays off. The former Real World star has always excelled on the mic, but lately he’s been holding his own in the ring. With Maryse by his side he just seemed to thrive even more. As the IC champion he’s shown he’s capable of keeping a title relevant and drawing people in. On Smackdown he’s do more of the same, maybe just maybe even earning a WHC title shot down the line.
Woah, how the mighty have fallen. The Celtic Warrior was a once feared and terrifying Irish arse kicker. That is until WWE Creative decided to use the League of Booty, I mean Nations. A group that oozed potential, but lacked substance. Now he’s entering a feud with the upstart Apollo Crews and the New Era. With that said comes a fresh start on Smackdown returning to his original gimmick that made us love to hate him. Sheamus needs to kick arse in a brutal way being an unstoppable force first for IC title then a run or two as the WHC.
Baron Corbin (31)
The former NFL offensive lineman has the look of the classic big man. Corbin’s intense look and intense (vastly unpolished) mic skills help with his forward projection. Despite a wasted feud with Ziggler he has the makings of being a big time superstar. Personally I think he should and could be a recruit of Wyatt and Sister Abigail as brute force until he’s ready to branch out. Or he could continue to work alone, kinda (w/ a manager) using this bad boy, cool guy, biker bully image that could take him to great heights. Corbin should be a fixture in the mid-card scene always around the IC title picture.